Prof. Wole Soyinka said religion has become a little more than "killing machine" all over the world.
The Nobel laureate who spoke in Abuja at a book launch in Abuja on Thursday, January 12, 2016, said religion has become a little more than "killing machine" all over the world.
"If we do not tame religion in this nation [Nigeria], religion will kill us," Soyinka said.
"Only the religiously possessed or committed would deny the obvious - the price that many have paid not just within the society but humanity in general. This makes me wonder if the benefits have really been worth the losses.
"The sound of the word 'religion' these days across the world is that of anxiety, trauma rather than the solace and consolation. As for the custodians of religion, they cannot denounce the murdering tendencies of their religion.
"What, however, concerns the rest of us – no matter the internal wrangling, rivalries or controversies within any religion is that the innocent are often those who pay the highest price," he added.
Soyinka who criticized President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Nasir El-Rufai's poor response to the recent Southern Kaduna crisis added that appeasement has never solved any religious crisis.
"In this very nation, in Southern Kaduna, over 800 souls were brutally extinguished suddenly while the issue of grazing land versus farming is unquestionably part of the conflict. It is equally undeniable that religious differences have played crucial role in the conflict.
"Some weeks before the latest outrage, the governor of that state [El-Rufai] was quoted to have claimed that peace was nigh since he had sent funds to the earlier wave of killers and they had agreed to end their killing spree.
"If you ask why General Buhari did not act fast enough when these events take place, which degrades us as human beings, well it is perhaps he has been waiting for the governor of that state to send money to the killers first for them to stop the killing.
"What astonished me was not the admission by the governor but the astonishment of others at such governmental response to atrocity. There was nothing new about it.
"Has appeasement to religious forces not become a Nigerian face of justice and equity? Wasn’t Boko Haram’s Muhammed Yusuf not a beneficiary of appeasement in a similar fashion?
"Southern Kaduna has reminded us once again that the monster always lying waiting to pounce under the guise of religion."
Also speaking at the event, the Arch-Bishop of Sokoto, Dr Matthew Kukah has expressed fear in the future of Nigeria.
Bishop Kukah who described himself as an "incurable optimist" however said unless religion is separated from politics and criminality, the future of Nigeria would be threathened.
Soyinka who maintained that religion is based on presumptions and not empirical findings, however, advised that the study of religion should be included in Nigeria's school curricula.